- Introduction by Scott Montgomery
At this year’s Bouchercon Noir At The Bar, I heard Jen Conley read a great tale of revenge, reminding me, she had one of my favorite stories in the Springsteen inspired anthology Murder In The Heartland. Her work looks at crime and punishment from a different perspective with a touch of Jersey justice. When I told her I wanted to use one of her stories, Jen suggested this piece from Out of The Gutter.
“June, wearing a worn yellow eyelet dress, sat in front of the radio, listening to the Velvelettes sing “A Needle in a Haystack.” The music almost drowned out the noise coming from the bedroom, her mother and Mr. Gash back there, wood bedframe banging against the wall, the grunts from him.
The apartment was small—just the bedroom and the front room, a kitchenette off to the side. The men came by, not often, but they came, and in the past, June would go outside and play in the dirt lot next to the building. Today she didn’t. She was getting older, figuring things out, and these men, in their dungarees or slacks, always with wrinkled shirts, cigarettes hanging from their mouths, they arrived at all hours, sometimes standing in the kitchenette, taking a nip of whiskey before disappearing into the bedroom with her mother.”